How to get cryocrastinators to actually sign up for cryonics

by JGWeissman 2 min read18th Aug 201294 comments


At the end of CFAR's July Rationality Minicamp, we had a party with people from the LW/SIAI/CFAR community in the San Francisco Bay area. During this party, I had a conversation with the girlfriend of a participant in a previous minicamp, who was not signed up for cryonics (her boyfriend was). The conversation went like this:

me: So, you know what cryonics is?

her: Yes

me: And you think it's a good idea?

her: Yes

me: And you are not signed up yet?

her: Yes

me: And you would like to be?

her: Yes

me: Wait a minute while I get my laptop.

And I got my laptop, pointed my browser at Rudi Hoffman's quote request form1, and said, "Here, fill out this form". And she did.

The hard part of all that was identifying a cryocrastinator, by which I mean someone who believes they should be signed up for cryonics, but for whatever reason, hasn't actually signed up. Once I know that I am talking to such a person, just giving them an actionable first step to do right now gets them to do that step.

Previously to the party, I had held an "unconference" seminar for cryocrastinating minicampers in which I did a scaled up version of the same thing. For this I told everyone in advance to bring their own laptops, and I gave them the URL. (There was some confusion about the target audience of this seminar, and some people who were not yet convinced it was a good idea for them came expecting more of a discussion. They had no trouble expressing this, and were not required to fill out the form.) At the party, I did this for one other person2.

What I have observed to work so far is that people will take the first step of filling out the quote request form when I make it easy for them. I am counting on Rudi to get them through the rest of the process, so they end up actually signed up. Rudi has agreed to track success rates of these people getting through the whole process, and I plan to check in with him in early December, and report back.

I was planning to write this up when I had the full results, but seeing this story of a young woman with brain cancer forced to beg to raise funds at the last minute reminded me that cryocrastinators are running out of time (even though getting brain cancer young is rare, there are cryocrastinators of all ages who aren't aware of when life insurance will become unaffordable). So I thought it would be good to let people know now how easy it is to get that cryocrastinator you know to get started signing up.

Again, all you have to do is establish that they want to be signed up for cryonics but aren't, and put this form in front of them and tell them that filling it out is the first step. Rudi will take them through the rest of it. And if you yourself are cryocrastinating, take a few minutes for your first step in signing up by filling out the form.


(If you do not already think cryonics is a good idea, I do not expect you to follow any of the advice in this article. I wrote this for the benefit of all the people who do think cryonics is a good idea, but are having trouble actually signing up. You may be interested in trying to generalize the technique for other forms of procrastination, however.)




1. Yes, Rudi Hoffman will make some money off of this. He should, as he is putting in professional hours to provide a valuable service. But the motivation behind this article is to get people to sign up for cryonics. Other paths with other first steps are welcome, as is any advice for people outside the United States.

2. I am not naming the other people involved. They can opt in to identifying themselves if they want.